Food safety tips when dealing with fresh produce

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a staple of summer cooking. Whether home grown, store bought or purchased from a local farmer’s market, fresh produce is healthy and nutritious, but it can also harbor dangerous bacteria if not stored, handled, and washed properly.

Following basic storing, handling and cleaning techniques goes a long way in making fresh produce safe to eat.

Storage tips:

  • Keep fresh produced stored in the refrigerator with a temperature of 32 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Items such as onions, garlic, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, and whole melons are best kept in a cool, dark environment with no refrigeration.
  • Refrigerate produce once it’s been sliced or cut.
  • Refrigerated produce should be stored separate from uncooked meats.

Handling/cleaning tips:

  • Make sure counter tops, cutting utensils and surfaces are clean.
  • Thoroughly wash hands before handling produce.
  • Throw out badly bruised, moldy or mushy produce.
  • Trim stalks and stems before washing, as germs can bury themselves in tiny crevices.
  • Rinds or outer skins also need washed. Dirt, bacteria and pesticides can be transferred inside fresh produce when cutting.
  • It’s just as important to wash pre-cut and packaged produce.
  • Spray with a soy-based fruit and vegetable cleanser and follow with a short soak and rinse. No need to agitate as the soy micro particles naturally does the work for you.

Rinsing fruits and vegetables in water is often not enough to remove all harmful bacteria. People don’t rinse long enough or use enough rubbing force for water to be completely effective.

The great thing about using a soy-based fruit and vegetable cleanser is it naturally removes bacteria, pesticides, dirt, wax, and fingerprints. Enjoy more vibrant looking and safe to eat produce. A soy-based cleanser can also be used on cutting boards and other food preparation areas as another line of defense against harmful bacteria.

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